WORLD WAR 1 MILITARY SERVICE ROBERT MCRAE LOCKHART Robert served as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers. A Sapper is an individual usually in British or Commonwealth military service (abbreviated Spr) and is the Royal Engineers' equivalent of Private. This term was first used by the French military to describe one who sapped another's fortifications undertaking a variety of tasks under combat conditions typically including bridge-building laying or clearing minefields demolitions field defenses as well as building road and airfield construction and repair. In other words the Sapper's tasks involved facilitating movement of allied forces and impeding movement of the enemy's. Broadly speaking Sappers were originally experts at demolishing or otherwise overcoming or bypassing fortification systems. Roberts profession as a civilian was a stonemason and this is probably why he served in the Royal Engineers. None of his military records are available. In fact most military records did not survive the bombings and fires that took place during the war. At age 35 he enlisted as a volunteer on 11 October 1915 at Dalkeith. The British Military Service Act of 1916 stated that all men aged 18-41 were liable to be called up for service unless they were married. If Robert began his military service before 1916 then he most likely was a volunteer. Robert served with the Royal Engineers 97 th Field Company (21 st div 5 th Army) service number 134162. It would appear certain that his brother John enlisted at the same time as his service number is 134163. In 1918 a report in the local newspaper indicates that Robert and five of his brothers were on active service in 1918. David is serving with the Scottish Rifles John is serving with the Royal Engineers in France Thomas is with the Seaforth Highlanders Peter is serving with the Royal Engineers in Italy and William the youngest of the brothers is on duty with the Royal Army Medical Corps at the Western Front. Sapper 134162 R Lockhart (Private) in 97th Field Company Royal Engineers was listed as missing inaction on March 231918 and later reported as killed on 22/03/1918 the second day of the Ludendorf offensive the Germans last big attack of the war. ‘PrivateR Lockhart is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial in France having no known grave. There are only seven soldiers of the Royal Engineers buried here. He is also commemorated on the War Memorial Kings Park, Dalkeith in the 1918 panel and in a stained glass window of St. Nicholas Parish Church Dalkeith. Robert was posthumously awarded the Victory Medal for military and civilian personnel who served in a theatre of war and the British War Medal for service abroad (including India) 5 August 1914-11 November 1918 or 1919-1920 in Russia. He may have gone overseas after 1st January 1916 because he is not entitled to either the 1914 or 1915 Star.
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